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PRODUCER OF THE YEAR 2012

Murray Warkentin of Greenland Gardens
Murray Warkentin of Greenland Gardens

Greenland Gardens

Twelve years ago, Murray and Lisa Warkentin returned home from a five year missionary voyage in Haiti with the goal of setting up a family farm, complete with sustainable greenhouse. The idea came from a friend and the inexperienced but optimistic couple began creating their farm from the ground up. “We’ve learned a lot since those days, basically how plants work,” says Murray, who started out with on1y 1,200 plants. Today, Greenland Gardens in Ste. Anne Des Chenes, boasts a 2,000 sq ft greenhouse that produces by many customers accounts the best beefsteak, cherry and cocktail tomatoes in Manitoba. The couple knew they wanted to leave a sustainable business for their children, and today their brood of seven actively assists by making boxes, gardening and completing weekly deliveries, which always occurs within 24 hours of picking. This commitment to quality and community has earned Greenland Gardens this year’s Good Food Manitoba Award for Producer of the Year. Warkentin attributes his tomatoes’ popularity to his attempt to mirror nature. “Copying nature is the only way,” explains the grower who uses natural light and mimics heating and cooling temperature patterns of a summer’s day inside his greenhouse. This community-rooted business nourishes partnerships with independent restaurants, health-food stores and markets and sustains more than 80 contracts in the city. He strives to support local and independent businesses that share the same outlook on sustainability as he and his family. Warkentin’s success affirms that people want fresh taste and care about the origin of their food. For Greenland Gardens it is a priority that they provide natural and delicious produce, enriching our lives one tomato at a time. —EC

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